Bill Dance's Autograph; Don't Leave Home Without It

Bill Dance's name carries weight, especially in the fishing world — it's household

Bill Dance

Oh sure, famed angler Bill Dance's name carries weight, especially in the fishing world — it's household.

Still, there is an angler out there who may be putting a little too much faith in Dance's name.

Or so say Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency fish and wildlife officers Andy Tweed and Ty Inmon. The duo made such a discovery on the routine license check of a fisherman who had been fishing a small tributary alongside a highway in western Tennessee.

On his way home, the angler was walking down the side of the highway with several fishing rods and a stringer of fish.

Driving by, Tweed and Inmon saw the opportunity, so they pulled alongside the angler and asked if he had a fishing license.

"He told us he had left his license at home," Tweed recalled.

"So we went to his apartment, and as it turned out, he didn't have a license. In fact, he didn't have any kind of identification. We asked him for a check stub, a lease agreement or anything that said he was who he claimed to be. We got nothing."

Finally, it was if a light went on beneath the angler's fishing cap. He grinned and told the officers if they would wait a second, he could produce identification. Going into the apartment, he returned with a picture frame taken from the wall.

In the frame was an autographed photo of Bill Dance, and written on it were the words, "To John Doe, catch one for me! — Bill Dance" (The name of the angler in question has been changed to protect his innocence, or lack thereof.)

"See! That's me — John," said the angler in question. "Does this not prove I am who I say I am?"

Tweed and Inmon, both friends of Dance, had a good laugh about the situation. But even though they found it funny, they didn't let it get in the way of the job at hand.

"Yes, we wrote him a ticket. After all, he lied to us. And though the photo may have proved to us his name, he still didn't have a fishing license," laughed lawman Tweed.